While the Yankees were busy bolstering their bullpen by resigning Zach Britton, the Mets added some much needed depth in a flurry of moves last week.
Perhaps the most notable player coming to Queens as part the Mets’ transactions is Keon Broxton, the backup outfielder obtained in a trade that sent minor leaguers Bobby Wahl, Felix Valerio and Adam Hill to the Milwaukee Brewers.
Broxton, 28, is known for his defense in center field, not his bat, evidenced by a slash line of .179/.281/.410 with four homers and 11 RBIs in 51 games last season. In addition to his stellar defense — Broxton has 13 defensive runs saved since 2016, which ranks 14th among all major league center fielders, according to Fangraphs — the center fielder will bring speed to the Mets’ lineup. He stole 21 bases for the Brewers two years ago in a full-time role.
But Broxton is not expected to have a full-time role with the Mets, who have Michael Conforto, Juan Lagares and Brandon Nimmo penciled in as the starters. Star outfielder Yoenis Cespedes will spend the beginning of the season rehabbing, making Broxton the fourth outfielder and insurance in case Juan Lagares can’t stay healthy.
“Keon is a dynamic outfielder with the ability to impact the game in the outfield, on the bases and with his bat,” General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen said in a statement. “He adds depth to our major league roster for 2019 and into the future.”
Mets fans shouldn’t expect Broxton to play a starring role this season, but he is a viable fourth outfielder capable of taking over games with his speed and defense every now and then.
Meanwhile, the Mets — fresh off of signing Wilson Ramos — tapped into their catching depth, trading backup Kevin Plawecki to the Indians for two minor leaguers.
In a separate deal, the Mets acquired infielder J.D. Davis and minor leaguer Cody Bohanek from the Astros for three farmhands as an Wagenen continues to reshape the organization’s farm system.
The club also signed veteran southpaw Hector Santiago to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training. Santiago went 6-3 with a 4.50 ERA in 49 appearances — including seven starts — for the White Sox last season.
None of these moves on their own moves the needle much for the Mets. But it does give the team some depth that it desperately needs.
In the Bronx, the Yankees’ resigning of Britton strengthens a bullpen that took a hit when reliever David Robertson signed with the Phillies.
The Yankees boasted the league’s best bullpen last year and is trying to maintain the depth necessary to reclaim the title again in 2019. The club had traded for Britton — formerly of the Orioles — ahead of the trade deadline last summer. The southpaw pitched to a 2.88 ERA in 25 innings for the Yankees in 2018 and figures to serve in a setup role moving forward.
Reach editor Zach Gewelb by e-mail at zgewe